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Ohio Right to Work Laws

So-called "right-to-work" laws are increasingly popular among states. These laws prohibit employers or unions from requiring union membership (or non-membership) as a condition of employment. In other words, even jobs that offer perks and benefits negotiated by unions must be open to non-union applicants as well as union members.

Proponents of these laws state that they protect the rights on non-union workers to find and keep secure employment, arguing that union requirements deprive employers of their autonomy to hire whom they want. Opponents of such laws say it is just an attempt by employers to discourage union membership, particularly since union dues are the lifeblood of unions.

Although Ohio is part of America's "Rust Belt," with a long history of labor organizations, the state has adopted a very limited right-to-work law. Specifically, the law states that union membership or non-membership employment conditions are "contrary to public policy and void." So employees are not required to join a union.

However, unions still represent all employees in a collective bargaining unit (which may be a group of workers at a single company or a larger segment of professionals). As such, they may ask Ohio employees who opt out of joining the union to pay a "fair-share" fee, typically about 0.5 percent of one's wages withheld each pay period, to cover the cost of representing their interests.

The basics of Ohio's labor relations and "right-to-work" laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Unions section for additional articles and helpful resources.

Code Section §4113.02
Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc. None stated.
Prohibited Activity Any agreement between employer and employee in which either party agrees to join, quit, or remain a part of a labor organization as a condition of employment is "contrary to public policy and void."
Penalties Contract void.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Ohio employment attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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